Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

04/07/2005 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 231(CRA) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSHB 160(CRA) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
HB 176-ELIMINATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME                                                                                         
9:15:54 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO.  176, "An  Act exempting  the  state and  its                                                               
political subdivisions from daylight saving time."                                                                              
9:16:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON, sponsor  of HB 176, explained  that HB 176                                                               
would eliminate  daylight saving time, and  therefore the passage                                                               
of  this legislation  would result  in Alaska  staying on  Alaska                                                               
Standard time.   He opined  that the recent time  change impacted                                                               
many.    Representative Salmon  highlighted  that  in Alaska  the                                                               
winter  days  are  short  and  the summer  days  are  long.    He                                                               
acknowledged the  arguments regarding  the notion  that [daylight                                                               
saving time]  saves energy  and not  having daylight  saving time                                                               
would impact  the time with  which Alaskans can do  business with                                                               
the   Lower  48.      In  regard   to   the  latter   contention,                                                               
Representative Salmon  pointed out that today  there are multiple                                                               
modes  of communication  that accommodate  whatever time  zone in                                                               
which one is located.                                                                                                           
9:18:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MOIRA SMITH, Staff to Representative  Woodie Salmon, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  stated  that  in Alaska  daylight  saving  time  is                                                               
unnecessary.   Originally  daylight  saving time  was  done on  a                                                               
national  level primarily  to save  energy  and it  works in  the                                                               
Lower 48.   However, it  doesn't work  so well in  Alaska because                                                               
the vast geographic expanse of  the state results in the majority                                                               
of the state being located in  areas where the hour saved doesn't                                                               
provide daylight and  thus it doesn't save  energy.  Furthermore,                                                               
there  are health  and safety  concerns with  the change  in time                                                               
such  as the  disruption of  the circadian  clock, which  is most                                                               
prominent in  children and teenagers.   Moreover,  the disruption                                                               
of  business isn't  a concern  because of  the multiple  modes of                                                               
communication available beyond the telephone.                                                                                   
9:21:01 AM                                                                                                                    
PAULA  RAK provided  testimony  in  opposition to  HB  176.   She                                                               
indicated that it  would be inconvenient for Alaska's  time to be                                                               
two hours different  from Seattle for half of the  year.  Federal                                                               
statute  15  U.S.C. 260  was  established  "with regard  for  the                                                               
convenience  of commerce  and the  existing  junction points  and                                                               
division  points   of  common  carriers  engaged   in  interstate                                                               
commerce."   She informed the  committee that the  convenience of                                                               
commerce  has  been  defined  to  include  consideration  of  all                                                               
impacts  upon  a  community, including  impacts  on  individuals,                                                               
families,  businesses,  and  other  organizations.    Because  of                                                               
Alaska's  location in  the Pacific  Northeast, commerce  has been                                                               
historically tied to  Seattle, which observes Pacific  time.  The                                                               
proposed change would  result in Alaska being  one hour different                                                               
from Seattle  time in the winter  and two hours different  in the                                                               
summer.    She  reminded  the  committee  that  in  1983  elected                                                               
officials  wanted  to  unify  Alaska  by  combining  time  zones.                                                               
However,  the  proposal  to  change  most  of  Alaska  to  Alaska                                                               
Standard time elicited a loud  outcry from Southeast Alaska.  She                                                               
opined  that most  residents didn't  want to  change, but  rather                                                               
wanted to stay on Pacific  Standard time.  This legislation would                                                               
mean that Southeast Alaska would  be an additional hour different                                                               
from  the preferred  time zone  for part  of the  year.   Ms. Rak                                                               
highlighted that when Alaska switched  to one time zone those the                                                               
farthest east and  west of Alaska were burdened the  most in that                                                               
the  time zone  wasn't  natural for  the rhythms  of  the sun  in                                                               
either area.   Therefore, [Alaska Standard time] was  touted as a                                                               
compromise.   Ms.  Rak  suggested that  either  the state  should                                                               
maintain the current  situation or return to  the situation prior                                                               
to 1983.   As a  business owner, Ms. Rak  said she finds  it very                                                               
inconvenient to be four hours different  than the East Coast.  In                                                               
fact,  this  change  would  result in  Alaska  being  five  hours                                                               
different than  the East Coast  for part of  the year.   She said                                                               
that she would  miss the hour of daylight in  the spring and fall                                                               
when the  days are shorter.   Ms. Rak concluded by  relating that                                                               
if  northern residents  are unhappy  with their  time zone,  then                                                               
they  should change  their situation  and leave  Southeast Alaska                                                               
9:25:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  recalled  that  when this  issue  has  been                                                               
brought  up in  the past,  the impact  to business  has been  the                                                               
major issue.  However, the sponsor  has opined that the impact on                                                               
businesses shouldn't  be as  great due to  the multiple  modes of                                                               
communication.  He inquired as  to how this proposal would impact                                                               
Ms. Rak, as a business person.                                                                                                  
MS. RAK said  that even with faxes and Internet  access, there is                                                               
still the need to talk with  folks on the telephone.  Having only                                                               
three hours  of business hours in  common with the East  Coast is                                                               
inconvenient.   The extra hour  of daylight in the  early morning                                                               
doesn't do much good, she opined.                                                                                               
9:27:15 AM                                                                                                                    
LYNN WILLIS stated his support for  HB 176.  He began by thanking                                                               
the sponsors  of this  legislation.   For the  third time  in six                                                               
years, such  legislation has been  introduced and  will hopefully                                                               
receive the full hearing and public  debate that it deserves.  He                                                               
reviewed the legislation  introduced in prior years.   Mr. Willis                                                               
specified that  HB 176 should  be law for the  following reasons.                                                               
First, a majority  of Alaskans support repeal  of daylight saving                                                               
time.   According  to  a  statewide public  opinion  poll of  505                                                               
Alaskans conducted in April 2004  by Dittman Research, 58 percent                                                               
of Alaskans favor repeal of  daylight saving time.  Second, there                                                               
is no  need to change  clocks because Alaska  is the Land  of the                                                               
Midnight Sun.   Most  of the  state is  located at  high northern                                                               
latitudes where  extremes in day length  are part of life.   This                                                               
time of  year Southcentral Alaska  is gaining an hour  of natural                                                               
daylight about every  10 days.  Third, most  Alaskans already use                                                               
daylight saving time  year round.  With the exception  of the far                                                               
Aleutian  Islands, since  1983 all  of Alaska  lying west  of the                                                               
Yukon territory has been on  permanent daylight saving time.  Mr.                                                               
Willis pointed  out that from  April to October, use  of daylight                                                               
saving time  adds an  additional hour  between the  difference in                                                               
the position  of the sun  in the sky and  the time of  the clock.                                                               
Fourth, no  energy is being saved  by the use of  daylight saving                                                               
time.   Fifth, Alaska  should be  able to be  more than  one hour                                                               
different than Seattle or four  hours different than New York for                                                               
six months  of the year.   He indicated that computers  and other                                                               
communication  technology advances  allow communication  and most                                                               
commercial   transactions  regardless   of   time  or   location.                                                               
Furthermore,  Mr. Willis  alluded to  the notion  that Alaska  is                                                               
part of the  global economy.  He highlighted that  the two of the                                                               
largest  nations  in  Asia,  Japan   and  China,  don't  practice                                                               
daylight  saving time.   Perhaps  Alaska could  exploit its  time                                                               
difference  to  provide  services  not available  in  other  time                                                               
zones, he opined.   In conclusion,  Mr. Willis  urged support for                                                               
HB 176.                                                                                                                         
9:31:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON, upon  determining no one else  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
9:32:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to report  HB 176 out of committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
9:32:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OLSON  objected and  noted that  as a  small businessman                                                               
the  difference  in  time  [without  daylight  saving  time]  was                                                               
noticeable and had an impact.                                                                                                   
9:33:07 AM                                                                                                                    
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Salmon,  Kott,                                                               
LeDoux, and  Cissna voted  in favor  of reporting  HB 176  out of                                                               
committee.   Representative Olson  voted against it.   Therefore,                                                               
HB  176 was  reported out  of  the House  Community and  Regional                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                    

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